Muscle mass cross-sectional area is associated with survival outcomes in malignant pleural disease related to lung cancer.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Respiratory medicine


washington; swedish cancer; oregon; psvmc


INTRODUCTION: Malignant pleural effusions are common in advanced malignancy and associated with overall poor survival. The presence of sarcopenia (decreased muscle mass) is associated with poor outcomes in numerous disease states, however, its relationship to malignant pleural disease has not been defined. We sought to understand if there was an association between decreased survival and decreased muscle mass in patients with malignant pleural effusion.

METHODS: Patients with malignant pleural disease undergoing indwelling tunneled pleural catheter placement were retrospectively reviewed. Computed tomography was reviewed and cross-sectional area of pectoralis and paraspinous muscle areas were calculated. Overall survival and associations with muscle mass were calculated.

RESULTS: A total of 309 patients were available for analysis, with a median age of 67 years and the majority female (58%). The median survival was 129 days from initial pleural drainage to death. Regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis did not reveal an association with survival and muscle mass for the entire population. However, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the lung cancer subgroup revealed the presence of decreased muscle mass and decreased survival time.

CONCLUSION: The presence of decreased muscle mass within a lung cancer population that has malignant pleural effusions are associated with decreased survival. However, the presence of decreased muscle mass within a heterogenous population of malignant pleural disease was not associated with decreased overall survival time. Further study of the role that sarcopenia may play in malignant pleural disease is warranted.

Clinical Institute



Pulmonary Medicine




Critical Care Medicine